Sunday, April 16, 2017

Roadrunner "field guide" nature journal project

One of the chapters in John Muir Laws' book on nature journaling is "Projects that focus awareness." One of the suggested projects to "focus your observations, enhance your memory, and catalyze your awareness," is to create a "field guide." This is simply a collection of examples of variation within your subject.

I'm still not sketching in the field. But I am taking lots more photos. And I have stopped automatically deleting all but the best shots, as I used to. Instead, I keep the "dud" photos as study specimens for future drawing projects at home.

Thus it is that I completed a page focused on some Greater Roadrunners that I photographed in March at Borrego Springs. One was a series of three photos of a Roadrunner. It was a bit surprised when it first saw me, ran away quickly, but paused one last time to look at me before it disappeared into the brush. The photos were all poor--with harsh background light and the bird itself underexposed. I "saved" one photo [in this previous post] by adjusting the brightness--bumping up the underexposed bird, while darkening the sun-lit sand. But all three photos together created a behavioral timeline. And, interestingly, of all the many illustrations of Roadrunners in all the field guides on my bookshelf, none showed the exact poses I recorded.

Later the same day, a pair of Roadrunners came to inspect our vehicle while Marlene and I were stopped photographing ducks out the window. I suspect the Roadrunners were begging handouts, here at the edge of the campground. I had my closest ever looks at Roadrunners--right down to the fuzzy "hair" sprouting from the head and the long eyelashes surrounding a wonderful eye with golden ring between the iris and the pupil.


Nature Journal page.